Hon Tim Groser
Minister of Trade
13 November 2009
NZ-Hong Kong trade agreement strengthens bond
Trade Minister Tim Groser hailed today’s announcement of the conclusion of the New Zealand - Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEP) as a significant further step towards regional economic integration.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister John Key and his Hong Kong counterpart Chief Executive Donald Tsang at the APEC Leaders meeting in Singapore.
“Hong Kong is an extremely sophisticated market and its proximity and special relationship with Mainland China makes it a very important strategic partner for us in the region,” said Mr Groser.
Hong Kong is New Zealand’s 9th largest export market and 8th largest source of Foreign Direct Investment. New Zealand’s trade with Hong Kong has steadily increased over the past decade and is currently worth $823 million.
“The conclusion of this CEP will raise the profile of New Zealand businesses in this market and will provide a springboard for diversifying our goods and services exports to Hong Kong and developing deeper investment links.
“Our agreement further enhances New Zealand’s economic integration with the region through our existing high quality free trade agreements with Thailand, Singapore, China, ASEAN and most recently with Malaysia.
“In addition to facilitating further trade between the two economies, the agreement will stimulate the development of a closer bilateral relationship,” said Mr Groser.
Officials must now complete legal verification of the agreement before details are able to be made public and put before Ministers for signature. It is likely that the agreement will be signed in the first half of 2010.